JCVD

jean-claude-van-damme-jcvd12

Jean-Claude Van Damme has had a quirky and fun career resurgence. Yeah, he’s found himself in a position to return to somewhat mainstream relevance since 2008’s JCVD (which is all sorts of fun, and you should watch), and while he’s done so most notably in his role as Jean Vilain in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 2, and a solid voice acting gig in Kung Fu Panda 2, Van Damme’s heart belongs to indies and direct to DVD actioners. With two new Universal Soldier flicks amongst that list of films, I’d say we should be pretty stoked about the state of his career. Next on the docket is Pound of Flesh, where JCVD will portray a man who rescues a woman in distress, and wakes the next morning in a blood-filled hotel bathroom, sans kidney for his troubles.

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Editor’s note: This review originally ran as part of our Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage, and since Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning in now playing in limited release, we reckon it’s a good time to repost it. As if slipping into a nine-year coma isn’t bad enough, John’s extended nap was preceded by the murders of his wife and daughter. He does not have the best of luck. As he begins to regain his memory, after waking from the coma he was beaten into at the end of a crowbar, John begins to hunt for his wife’s killer. All the while, mercenaries of highly advanced skills begin to stalk him, and the mysteries of his own past come spin-kicking to the surface. Spoiler: Universal Soldiers are involved. When John Hyams brought Universal Soldier: Regeneration to Fantastic Fest in 2009, expectations were hovering somewhere around the stickiest parts of the theater floor. That is no reflection upon Hyams, it’s just that the series, unlike the characters that populated the first film, seemed far too dead to revive. But what we got was an adrenaline shot to the heart of the franchise that reunited its legendary leads and gave us a reason to be fans again. Now, with the re-return of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, and burgeoning action hero Scott Adkins (Undisputed III, The Expendables 2) added into the mix, anticipation was decidedly higher for the next chapter. And perhaps that’s where the issue lie.

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Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Expendables 2

Jean-Claude Van Damme was, without a doubt, the biggest piece missing from The Expendables. You can’t have 90’s action movies without him. The word on the street was that JCVD himself turned down a role in the film over some sort of concerns over character. You may be snickering at this, but coming off the critically well received flick JCVD the Muscles of Brussels was riding high on his acting talents. Regardless of what kept him out of the first film, Van Damme landed the meaty role of Vilain who is so obviously the villain of the film and early word from reviews is that he kicks all sorts of ass in the role. Now that all is right with the world and JCVD is standing alongside the likes of similarly muscled, speech impaired stars like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Lundgren, it’s time to look back and relive the career of JCVD via splits and awesome movies.

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Over Under - Large

Being John Malkovich was an amazing success story upon its 1999 release. Not only was it a critical darling that got nominated for a bunch of awards, but it also successfully launched the big screen careers of a music video director named Spike Jonze and a lowly TV writer named Charlie Kaufman. In case you didn’t know, those guys have gone on to be big names, and Being John Malkovich earns quite the pedigree by being the start of their careers. On a personal level, I walked out of the movie in ’99 shocked at how unique and inventive it was, and loving how it melded progressive filmmaking with a comic sensibility. Revisiting it all these years later though, I realize it hasn’t aged as well as I’d hoped, and I find myself wondering if it still deserves the level of reverence that it gets. Mabrouk El Mechri’s 2008 film JCVD didn’t get near as much buzz or recognition as something like Being John Malkovich. Maybe that’s because a big chunk of it wasn’t in English, or maybe it’s because it just wasn’t as good—that’s debatable. But the opinion that it showed us a different side of its star, Jean-Claude Van Damme, was pretty universal, and it seemed like it was going to be something of a rebirth for the action star’s career. It’s four years later though, and nothing has really come of it. The man has still been largely relegated to straight-to-video action movies, and any of the […]

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With The Expendables 2 getting primed to body slam, roundhouse kick, and just generally mess up moviegoers next week, all sorts of interesting tidbits have hit the web from its giant cast of men you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. Terry Crews has already sounded off about continuing his Idiocracy work, so why not turn the floor over to another action star who has tons of past roles he wants to return to as well? Someone like, oh, the Muscles from Brussels? Over at Next Movie, JCVD himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme, opened up about the state of two different projects that are both near and dear to his big, beefy heart. First up, Van Damme dished (does Van Damme dish? just imagine for a minute that he does) about a possible Double Impact sequel, saying, “I wrote the script with a friend of mine Sheldon [Lettich], he [co-wrote] Bloodsport and Double Impact with me…Hopefully, somebody smart enough, like an agent or a producer, can put that back together.”

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema: we’re on a mission from God. And that mission is to bring you a weekly catalogue of the best of the worst that cinema has to offer you. Broadcasting live from the free Wi-Fi signal we picked up sitting behind that McDonald’s, each week we pick a deliciously awful film and tear it apart piece by piece. But then we remember how much we actually love it, and try, futilely, to convince you why. We’ll top it off with a tasty treat for you to enjoy while watching that will go with the film like peanut butter and ketchup. So grab a spork and let’s get started! This week’s treat? Bloodsport! Bricks not hit back this time!

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Good news for fans of guys who can kick high and have indecipherable accents. Jean Claude Van Damme has got his newest movie lined up and ready to go. Remember how excited everyone was when it was announced that Van Damme would be starring in the new Ernie Barbarash helmed film Assassination Games? Yeah, I don’t either. As a matter of fact, I think my Internet broke when I tried to Google its non-existent IMDB page. Regardless, producer Brad Krevoy is planning on teaming the actor/director duo back up for a new film called Six Bullets. This one would see Van Damme starring as an ex-mercenary kidnapping expert hired by a martial arts fighter to help him find his missing daughter. No, that wasn’t a typo, I actually did write all of those words in a row. I may not have ever heard of Ernie Barbarash, Assassination Games, or seen many of these lower tier Van Damme releases that have come out over the past decade, but I do remember when he played himself in 2008’s JVCD and I found the film to be surprisingly affecting and well made, and Van Damme’s performance to be legitimately nuanced and the best he has ever given in his career. What happened to that? Shouldn’t it have sparked at least one talented director to give this guy a more legit chance at a career resurgence?

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bdreport-trektos

That’s right friends, two weeks in a row here for the Blu-ray Report. I would like to tell you that I’ve turned over a new leaf in my duties as Blu-ray watchdog, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. The good news is that I am here this week and ready to spread some Blu-ray knowledge all over your minds. Also good news — we’ve got Jean-Claude Van Damme on Blu-ray this week. That friends, is a win. We’ve also got our good friend, Managing Editor Cole Abaius swooping in to review The Uninvited. And now on to our breakdown of this week’s Blu-ray releases, starting with those that I have nominated as the Creme of the Crop. As always, please support your local Reject Stimulus Fund by clicking on the titles of the movies and picking them up over at Amazon. Creme of the Crop Star Trek: The Original Series (Season 1) This is the gem of the week. With the release of J.J. Abrams’ awesome new Star Trek film hitting theaters at warp speed in a week and a half, it is time to revisit some of the glory days of Star Trek: TOS in glorious high definition. It is time to go back to those first episodes, when Spock was sometimes a little greener than normal and the set pieces were awful, but it all worked. But of course the most exciting thing about this Blu-ray release — save for the excuse to go back […]

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

This week… Bride Wars, The Hit, Hotel For Dogs, In The Realm Of The Senses, JCVD, Martyrs, Nothing But The Truth, One Eyed Monster, Satanic Sluts III, The Uninvited, and While She Was Out!

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Van Damme in The Eagle Path

Can the action star draw in an audience with beautiful action scenes and…a love story?

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2008review-foreign

I’ve been tasked with presenting the Top Ten Foreign Films (and while you may think that some of my choices are mistaken as well, you would in fact be mistaken). You may also notice that it differs substantially from other foreign film ‘best of’ lists…

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Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… France!

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2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Even though we weren’t allowed to make the trip across the border into Canada, we would still like to bring you some of the Toronto Film Fest updates from our friends and neighbors around the web.

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JCVD

Previously we had thought that getting into Cannes was an infinitely difficult task, but apparently it is not — at least, it’s not if you know wicked kung fu.

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